It sounds like a horror story, but this very real case of the heebie-jeebies…
A 32-year-old Russian woman went to the doctor after a mysterious lump moved around her face over the course of two weeks — and she made a horrifying discovery.
A lump that seemed to mysteriously move around on a woman’s face was in fact a worm crawling under her skin. She took a series of selfies to document the moving lump, which first appeared under her left eye, then moved above her eye, and then migrated to her upper lip.
The first hint that something was awry was a small lump under her left eye. But five days later it had done something face lumps don’t usually do. It had moved to just above her left eyelid – carrying with it an itching and burning sensation.
A further 10 days later, it had moved again, this time puffing up the left side of her upper lip.
After two weeks of these symptoms, the woman brought herself to a doctor, where a living parasite was removed surgically and identified as Dirofilaria repens, a long, thin white worm shown above.
These thread-like worms naturally infect dogs, cats, foxes, and other wild mammals, and typically live in the tissue under the skin, according to a 2011 report of a similar case. Humans are “accidental” hosts — in other words, not where the worms want to end up — and once a worm gets into a human, it typically can’t reproduce.
The parasite is a cousin of the heartworm. It can grow to be as long as six inches. Imagine having that living inside your bodily system. Alarming!
The patient reportedly told Doctors she’d traveled outside Moscow to rural Russia, where she’d been the victim of a lot of mosquito bites. While hundreds of cases have been studied in Russia, Dirofilaria repens appeared to move beneath the skin in only about 35 percent of them. This patient made a full recovery once the worm was removed surgically